New rules for hotel approval in Asheville, NC

Photo by @avlblaketakes

After nearly a year and a half, the city’s moratorium on new hotel construction ended last night. City Council took the issue up at their meeting, where they voted to adopt new approval requirements around hotels.

The City of Asheville’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted earlier this month to recommend the new rules be approved, based on Council + public feedback. Here’s what you need to know about the new rules.

The approved changes to the hotel proposal approval process include:

  • A revised hotel overlay map showing where new hotels can be builti.e., removing areas of map that overlap with urban renewal properties.
  • New + increased public benefits requirements, wherein points are awarded for things like working with women and/or minority-owned businesses, paying employees a living wage, using green construction, or providing public parking. To further prioritize affordable housing and racial equity, 50% of the required points must go to either affordable housing or reparations funding.
  • Design review committee appointment changes. The new Design Review Committee will be a joint one which will include nine total members — eight Council appointees to the Downtown + Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commissions and one at-large member appointed by the committee. All new hotels will be required to be reviewed by the committee, which will continue allowing public input.

The new rules will be evaluated after six months to assess their efficacy. 

One interesting thing I learned from tonight’s meeting? According to Asheville City Attorney Brad Branham, moratoriums are only allowed by law in the Tar Heel State if they’re temporary, not permanent. That’s why hotels can’t be banned here. 

Dig into all of the details of the new approval measures here.